Congress criticises former RSS chief over anti-Sonia remarks (Lead)

November 12th, 2010 - 12:21 am ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) The Congress Thursday hit out at former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief K.S. Sudarshan for his “uncivilised language” against party president Sonia Gandhi even as both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the RSS distanced themselves from the remarks.

Referring to Sudarshan’s derogatory remarks made in Bhopal and reported by a Hindi daily, Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said here: “No language can be more uncivilised than this. There can be no bigger lies. If Congressmen get worked up after reading all this, they (RSS) will be responsible.”

Dwivedi said the party had asked its workers to keep peace.

On the BJP and RSS distancing themselves from Sudarshan’s remarks, he said the party would judge them more by their action than words.

“They have to decide whether they own or disown such a person. BJP and RSS should clearly come out and say whether they agree or disagree with such remarks,” Dwivedi said at a media briefing, flanked by party spokespersons Shakeel Ahmed and Manish Tewari.

Asked whether the party will ask the central government to take action against the RSS, Dwivedi said “the matter concerns society more than the government”.

Congress general secretary B.K. Hariprasad said Sudarshan has “a habit of putting his foot in the mouth”.

“Whenever he opened his mouth, people thought he is unfit to be in any organisation. He is fit to be in mental hospital…He is exposing himself as to what kind of training he had in the organisation he belonged to,” Hariprasad added.

The Congress in Madhya Pradesh is planning to hold protests Friday by burning effigies of Sudarshan.

The RSS, distancing itself from the derogatory remarks of Sudarshan, said the views were not that of the organisation.

RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said the organisation “has noted with concern” reports in a section of the media attributing the remarks to former Sarsanghchalak Sudarshan. He said these were not the opinions of the RSS.

The BJP similarly distanced itself from Sudarshan’s remarks and said that as a democratically elected leader, Sonia Gandhi should be respected. “She is the chairperson of a ruling coalition and as a democratically elected Indian leader she deserves our respect,” party spokesman Tarun Vijay said.

He said any political differences should be expressed in an accepted, democratic behaviour.

The issue surfaced in parliament too. Congress MPs strongly objected to Sudarshan’s remarks with Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal even going to the extent of saying that “only an insane (person) can talk like that”.

Congress members in both houses of parliament protested near the presiding officers’ podiums demanding an apology from the BJP, which is ideologically connected to the RSS.

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